Thursday, March 31, 2016

7 Piggy Banks to Keep the Coins Under Control

“The average American household has approximately $90 in loose change sitting unused in jars, under sofa cushions, and in dresser drawers,” said Alex Camara, senior vice president and general manager of worldwide coin at Coinstar, Inc.

I have no idea if that statistic is accurate, but I know some households have a lot of coins sitting around. One way to keep them from getting lost (and making a mess on a dresser top, or wherever) is to use a piggy bank — in pig form or not.

The elephant above comes from Stephanie Rombough Ceramics. I’m hoping there's a plug in the bottom to remove the coins; the site doesn’t say one way or another. (All the other piggy banks listed here do have a removable stopper.)

You can get whales from Maia Ming Designs. These are “made in porcelain with a tactile rubber finish.”

Land of Nod has a collection of different animal banks, including this hippo.

These Miffy money boxes are made from PVC rather than porcelain, so they could be good for kids. [via Retro to Go]

And here's a Royal Delft Miffy that’s much more expensive.

I’m not sure how helpful it is to have a piggy bank with multiple slots, but this bank from 25TOGO Design has 25 slots of varying sizes and thicknesses.

Finally, here’s a piggy bank that really looks like a pig, from Pike Place Pigs. This one happens to be a chalkboard pig, but there are plenty of others without the chalkboard feature.

Related Posts:
A Piggy Bank Menagerie
What a Pig! Piggy Banks and Money Boxes Worth a Look
Beyond the Piggy Bank: Tzedkah Boxes
Today’s Top 10 Piggy Banks
Piggy Banks: A Home for Your Spare Change
A Place for Your Coins: Piggy Banks and Money Pots
Organizing Products Inspired by Sheep
5 Money Boxes: Piggy Banks and More

Sunday, January 10, 2016

5 Eye-Catching Wall-Mounted Knife Racks

If a wall-mounted magnetic knife rack is what works best in your kitchen, there are some lovely options available to you. This "old vine" rack from Wine Country Craftsman is available from Sonder Mill; you can also find this craftsman's work on Etsy. Update on March 31, 2017: Sonder Mill has become part of BRIKA, which doesn't seem to carry Wine Country Craftsman's products. But now you can also buy the products on the Wine Country Craftsman website.

SJ WoodWorks has lovely racks made from walnut and other woods.

The knife racks from BladeCatchers are made from Plyboo, "a plywood created with Moso bamboo. ... Plyboo is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as a sustainably grown material."

The knife racks from Jonathan Alden make the magnets part of the visible design. You can get these on the Jonathan Alden website or via Etsy.

Wake The Frame places the wood block in metal channel; the channel is what mounts to the wall. It's available in a number of different colors.

Related Post:
Not Your Ordinary Wall-Mounted Knife Racks

Monday, October 26, 2015

3 Cool Storage Products: Easy to Carry, Lots of Uses

I’m seeing a type of storage container recently that goes by varying names: caddy, toolbox and more. But no matter what you call these items, they are flexible, portable storage options that can be used for many purposes. And they look nice, too!

The one above is the Toolbox from Vitra, designed by Arik Levy. You can buy it from Vitra or from Design Within Reach; there are five color options.

The MUJI organizing caddy is stackable — there are two of them in that photo — and the compartments are removable. I don’t know if you can pick these up by the handle while they are stacked, though. [via Better Living Through Design]

The Toto Storage Box from Umbra, designed by Sung Wook Park, has a metal shelf that slides out. The shelf comes in three different colors.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2016 Calendars with Chicks, Cats and Birds

2016 calendar - Chicks in Hats

I’m always on the lookout for nice wall calendars for those who prefer paper calendars to digital ones. When Erika Hall pointed me to the Chicks in Hats Etsy store today, I knew I had to share the Chicks in Hats calendar. Shop owner Julie explains: “Chicks in Hats is a project started in 2011 by my 8 year old daughter and myself. She places the hats on the chicks and I take the photos; this is as fun as you can imagine.”

2016 Calendar - Cat vs Human

I’ve been a fan of Yasmine Surovec's Cat vs Human drawings for quite a while now, so I’m delighted to see she has a 2016 calendar.

2016 Calendar - The Mincing Mockingbird

I’m also quite taken with the bird paintings in the 2016 calendar from The Mincing Mockingbird.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

5 Felt Baskets, Bins and Boxes

felt basket, gray

I’ve discovered some lovely felt storage pieces recently, and I wanted to share them with you. Sne design has a bunch of them; this basket is the one that first caught my eye. [via My Scandinavian Design]

felt bin with leather trim

Skandinavious by Louise Vilmar has some very eye-catching felt organizer bins.

felt boxes, gray, four sizes

Greybax makes felt boxes, with and without lids, in a variety of sizes.

felt boxes, gray, three sizes

Mokee also has felt boxes in three different sizes.

felt boxes for Ikea shelving

Finally, Stich-haltig makes felt boxes that fit into Ikea shelving pieces (and some others, too). The ones shown above fit the Expedit and Kallax.

Related Posts:
Soft Storage: Felt Baskets or Boxes
Fabulous Felt Boxes and Baskets
Organizing with Felt: Pails, Boxes and Baskets
Fun with Felt: Baskets, Bowls and Bins

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Best To-Do List App

“To do” by Nikki Buitendijk, found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

What’s the best to-do list app? Lots of people have opinions about that.
And you’ll find plenty of recommendations for other apps, too.

But I was just listening to a podcast (Cortex, episode 7) where CGP Grey perfectly captured my feelings on the subject. He said:
If you look on the App Store, there are a bazillion different to-do apps. And you have to find a to-do app that just fits with your mind very well. ... People think about their to-dos in very different ways, where one app is good for someone and it’s just a terrible fit for somebody else.
And this idea applies to more than just to-do apps. Grey also spoke about various email apps. Regarding Gmail, he said, “It does not work with the way I think about email, for whatever reason.” And what about the popular apps that work in combination with Gmail?
I think a lot of these Gmail apps like Inbox or like Mailbox — if they happen to line up with the way you think about email, then they’re amazing. But if they don’t fit the shape of your mind, then they are terrible.
This is exactly what I’ve found. It’s like every other organizing challenge; what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. It might take some trial and error, but when you find the apps (or paper solutions) that fit with the way your mind works, you’ve got the right ones for you.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cool Containers: Canvas Buckets and Baskets

Canvas buckets can hold all sorts of stuff and look really nice while doing so. They come in many sizes and patterns; these lovely ones from Dagmar’s Designs are 6.5 inches tall. You can also get ones with birds, bicycles, butterflies and more.

Unison has canvas bins in a few different patterns; they’re 7 inches tall.

These canvas baskets from Lemonni come in two sizes: 9 inches by 10 inches, and 13 inches by 14 inches.

This bucket — one of many from Maika — is also available in two sizes. The small is 4 inches tall while the large is 9 inches tall. It’s made from recycled cotton canvas.

And finally, here’s one of the bucket baskets from Good Company. It’s 12 inches tall, as are most of the others — but there’s one that’s 16 inches tall. All of them have nice leather handles.

Monday, July 6, 2015

7 Bookends: Going Beyond the Purely Practical

Bookends are often a practical necessity to keep books upright. They can also be fun and decorative — especially if you have the bookshelf space to show them off. And bookends come in a wide array of materials and designs.

ThinkGeek’s Build On Bricks Bookends allow you to add your own bricks: LEGO, K'NEX and more. At first glance I wondered how supportive they were, but then I learned that there are metal pieces that slide under the books, so that should help.

These granite bookends from Field, designed by Daniel Emma, aren’t cheap — but they should certainly be effective, and they are lovely. They come in a black version, too. [via Better Living Through Design]

E15 provides these Stop marble bookends in two sizes. They’re sold by various sites around the world; The Residents is one in the U.S.

Rough Fusion makes these concrete bookends, which cost a lot less than granite or marble ones.

While these wool felt bookends come from RH Baby & Child, the company says they are “stuffed and weighted to stand up to a library of books.”

Powder coated steel bookends can be interesting, too; just look at these from Block, with two different shapes in the pair. Both have tongues that go under the books.

Bookend Singles are sold individually for those who need just one bookend, not a pair. That can easily happen if the books take up just part of a bookshelf; the shelf itself props up one end, and you only need a bookend for the other side. They bookends are made of polypropylene and they ship flat, so they're easy to store when not in use. There are also “grippy feet” on the bottom to help them stay in place. Here’s one place to buy them.

Related posts, with more interesting choices:
Nice Bookends Don't Have to Cost $685
Treat Your Books to Some Nice Bookends: The Elephant Edition
Bookends for Those Who Haven’t Totally Converted to the Kindle, Nook or iPad
5 Bodacious Bookends
For Book Lovers: Fun and Functional Bookends
A Bookend Menagerie — and More
Got Books? Get Bookends!
Heavy-Duty Bookends: Plain and Fancy

Sunday, May 10, 2015

In Honor of My Mom: Organizing in Blue for 2015

small fabric bucket with blue polka dots

Eight years ago today, my mom died of pancreatic cancer. It’s an especially poignant day this year, since May 10 falls on Mother’s Day. My mom’s favorite color was blue, so this is my annual tribute to her: blue containers and other organizing-related products. Let’s start with this small fabric bucket, which comes from Nik J Designs.

4 magnets, in blue and yellow, with bicycle designs

These glass magnets come from Tanner Glass. These caught my eye because I remember Mom insisting I learn to ride a bike — but I was never very good at it.

small glass tray, blue and clear

Greg Stefan Studios has a wide variety of small glass trays.

stack of 4 lacquer trays; top one is black exterior, blue interior

Nom Living provides lacquer trays in a range of shapes, sizes and colors.

leather bookend, blue, that holds a photograph

Finally, Mom would probably have liked the Evolution Photograph Bookend from David Linley, as long as she didn’t see the price tag.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Organizing the Gift Wrapping Paper

gift wrap paper where you circle the appropriate greeting (out of 20 choices)

When it comes to gift wrap, people generally fall into one of two camps:

1. The minimalist, who either gives relatively few gifts which need wrapping, or who chooses simplified wrapping solutions. Those simplified solutions might be a small collection of gift bags, a generic wrapping paper than can work for multiple occasions, or something like maps or newspapers which can work as wrapping paper. The Wordless Wrap, which lets you circle one of 20 greetings, is pretty ingenious. [via Swissmiss]

2. The gift wrapping enthusiast, who enjoys creating beautifully wrapped gifts and collects papers, ribbons, etc. For those who fall into this second category, there are some interesting gift wrap organizers to help manage the collection. It’s no use having a bunch of lovely things if you can’t find them when you want them!

gift wrap organizer that can hang in a closet

Wrap iT is a very complete solution which is also easy to use. This is the Wrap iT Deluxe, which accommodates both 30-inch and 40-inch tall gift wrapping rolls. As you can see, it also has places for ribbon and bows; there are pockets on the outside to store gift bags, tissue paper, etc.

The company also has less bulky options for those who don't need quite as much storage. The original Wrap iT only handles 30-inch rolls. And the Wrappy (available in original and deluxe versions) is a non-zippered option which holds fewer rolls. All of these products can either hang in a closet or slide under a bed.

gift wrap organizer

The Gift Wrap Caddy can stand up while it’s being used, which is a nice feature. When collapsed, it can be hung in the closet or stored under the bed. However, the items are not fully enclosed, so dust and curious babies/pets (for under-bed storage) could be an issue. And any 40-inch rolls are going to stick up over the top, which might make it difficult to hang.

gift wrap cart
gift wrap cart - detail of the top portion

Crate and Barrel has a rolling wrapping cart which could work nicely for those with the room for it. The deep back bin holds the paper, and there are places for almost anything else you'd need, including a shelf where you could place the wrapped packages.

gift wrap solutions using Elfa

And then there’s Elfa. You could get just the door/wall organizer, or go all out and create an entire gift wrap closet. While the closet would only work for those with lots of space to dedicate to gift wrap, the door/wall organizer would work for those of us in smaller homes who still have free door space. But it does have the drawback of not being mobile.

gift wrap roll fastener, to keep it from unrolling

Finally, if you’re using any gift wrap storage product that doesn't have loops to keep partially-used rolls from unwrapping (as both the Wrap iT and the Gift Wrap Caddy both do), you may be interested in the Neat Roll.